Busting SAT Myths 1: Math Prep, Critical Reading Prep, and Guessing

The SAT is such an important exam that stories, tales and myths have gradually grown up about it. It’s great when these myths tell you the right thing, but some of them could end up confusing you, with potential adverse effects.

Today, we address three basic misconceptions about the SAT, and show you a different way of looking at them.

I struggled with Math in the tenth standard. I should immediately give up all my dreams of ever studying abroad.

What else you can do inside qs leap ?

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Math phobia is the most ubiquitous of fears, and the most easily overturned by logic. If you look closely at the different topics that are tested in the SAT Math section, you will see that almost all of them are quite basic; you might have encountered them when you were 11, 12 or 13 years old. All the SAT does is take these simple concepts and present them in a way that is non-intuitive, but that’s easy to fix. All you need is to recognize the disguises which these questions wear, and you will be able to deal with the core concepts beneath. Ask any expert coach (we have loads of these at Jamboree), and you will understand that one bad performance in Math doesn’t make you do badly on your SAT; lack of preparation does.

My English is not good. I will never be able to do well in the Critical Reading section. Therefore, I should not prepare for it, and concentrate on the Mathematics part instead.

Even if your English is a major weak point, there are at least five ways in which you can use careful preparation to spike your Critical Reading score beyond your wildest expectations (and our experts know many more). First, use word lists cleverly to expand your vocabulary. Understanding every word in a passage is key to understanding its overall thrust, and ultimately analyzing it correctly. Next, you can read more – newspapers, books, anything – more reading will lead to faster reading, and that will ultimately help you. Thirdly, you can read smarter, try to analyze the meaning of the words you see in newspapers and in books. Fourth, use memory tricks; after you read a passage, try to think back to what the key messages were, and where in the passage each of them occurred. Finally, take expert help; find someone who knows exactly how to take Critical Reading skills to the next level, and can customize a learning plan to your specific requirement. Remember, no weakness is so large that it cannot be converted into a strength.

Random guessing is a very good idea; since an incorrect answer only leads to a loss of a quarter of a point, this means that the College Board wants us to guess everything we don’t have time to solve.

As in anything else in life, random guessing on the SAT can be a double-edged sword. Yes, you might get a majority of your guesses right, and end up getting a score higher than all your friends. You might also get all of them wrong, and bring down your score even though you actually knew a lot more than your final score will reflect. Of course, if you are able to narrow down a bunch of questions to a couple of possible answers by eliminating the others, you might be able to choose one of them in each case, and have a decent chance of coming out ahead. But we suggest that you first solve all the questions you are able to be sure about before you start guessing.

Stay tuned to our SAT Myth buster series, as we improve the quality of your preparation by removing one misconception at a time.

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